WASHINGTON — The United States placed economic sanctions on five companies based in Turkey and one Turkish individual on Thursday for allegedly assisting Russia in evading US sanctions and aiding Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.
One of the firms is Margiana, which the US said had sent hundreds of shipments to two Russian companies involved in producing military drones for use in Ukraine.
“Margiana’s shipments to SMT-iLogic and Saturn EK have included high priority items of the kind recovered in multiple Russian weapons systems in Ukraine, including the Kalibr cruise missile, the Kh-101 cruise missile and the Orlan-10 UAV,” the Treasury Department said in a press release.
The US accused another firm, Demirci Bilisim Ticaret Sanayi Limited Sirketi, of sending “sensors and measuring tools to Russia.”
Two other Turkey-based firms, Denkar Ship Construction and shipyard agency ID Ship Agency, were targeted by sanctions. CTL limited and ID Ship agency's owner Ilker Dogruyol were also hit with sanctions for offering repair work to Russian ships connected to Russia’s military, and for evading sanctions by shipping electronic components of Western origin to companies in Russia.
Thursday’s designations were part of a package targeting a number of Russian entities.
Why it matters: The new sanctions, first reported by Reuters, come as the Biden administration is seeking to court President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government as his parliament is set to weigh Sweden’s bid to join the NATO alliance.
Despite boasting the second-largest standing military in NATO, Turkey has increasingly sought to balance its ties with Russia and the West in recent years. The US previously enacted limited sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry agency in response to Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.
Relations with Turkey, which controls the gateway to the Black Sea, have taken on new importance for the US since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Know more: The Biden administration has repeatedly warned Turkish counterparts over firms abetting Russia’s sanctions evasion.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo has repeatedly traveled to Turkey to press for a halt to the flow of funds from Turkey to Russia amid the war.